In the framework of a research project, the Centre of Registers and Information Systems (RIK), the Ministry of Justice of Estonia, the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications of Estonia and the Microsoft Corporation tested the hosting of the website of the Electronic State Gazette of Estonia in virtual data embassy, meaning in the international cloud service.
The director of RIK, Mr. Mehis Sihvart, specified that despite the fact the Electronic State Gazette only includes public information, it is nevertheless important to protect it from potential cyber-attacks, to ensure continuous access to legal information for the citizens and maintain the country’s international reputation.
“The Ministry of Justice of Estonia must ensure access to legal order at all times. The use of international cloud service increases the capacity to resist cyber-attacks and enhances the reliability of information systems”, added Mr. Sihvart.
The Deputy Secretary General of the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Communications of Estonia, Mr. Taavi Kotka, explained that the research project is part of the implementation of the public cloud concept. The concept foresees that the availability of services necessary for the functioning of the state and the digital continuity of key registers be maintained regardless of a crisis situation. To reach the goal, opportunities to keep the data in public cloud services or servers located in Estonian embassies or on the territories of friendly countries will be created. In other words, Estonia will establish data embassies.
“Estonia depends on digital solutions. It is one of our great strengths but also a challenge – it is no longer possible to move back to paper era in several important fields”, noted Mr. Kotka. “Physical and virtual data embassies help to ensure the digital continuity of the country”.
Mr. Kotka emphasized that international cloud services were only used to keep public data like that of the Electronic State Gazette. Restricted data was not moved to the virtual data embassy in the framework of the research project.
The aim of the research project was to test the transfer and functioning of websites containing public data in the Microsoft Azure cloud. During the project stress tests were carried out and the full functionality of the Electronic State Gazette, including the publication of and search for legal acts, when in the cloud, was tested.
A report describing the results and conclusions drawn will be made publicly available at the beginning of 2015. The research project received no separate funding and was carried out as a cooperation between the various parties.